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Bones Confirmed as King Richard III

Exciting and fascinating news from the BBC this morning – bones found beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England last August have been confirmed as those of King Richard III. Richard III was the King of England for a mere 26 months from 1483 until 1485.

His defeat in battle and death in 1485 heralded the end of England’s Middle Ages, and he has been the subject of many legends and tales including The Princes in the Tower (which details the long-held suspicion by many that Richard III murdered his two nephews) and of course William Shakespeare’s play about him, titled simply Richard III.

To verify the findings, experts used a combination of carbon dating (which pinpointed the remains’ ages to a certain timeframe), wound examination, skeletal examination (Richard III was known to have been stooped by Scoliosis) and eventually, DNA analysis:

However, a team of enthusiasts and historians managed to trace the likely area – and, crucially, after painstaking genealogical research, they found a 17th-generation descendant of Richard’s sister with whose DNA they could compare any remains.

They claim the findings confirm beyond a reasonable doubt. I still doubt (reasonably!), but DNA is a marvelous and fascinating thing. Imagine identifying the remains of someone who has been dead more than five centuries.

More at the BBC.

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